DOE Science Showcase - Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR)

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy Laboratory

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy Laboratory
Image credit: Argonne National Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy


Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) involves the absorption and emission of radio-frequency energy of the magnetic nucleus of an atom. The orientation of a magnetic nucleus will oscillate back and forth at a particular natural frequency that depends on what type of nucleus it is and on the conditions it’s subject to.  If the nucleus is exposed to a radio wave of the same frequency, its orientation will oscillate in resonance with the radio wave, and alter the wave as a result.  Observing this effect on the radio waves provides information about the nucleus and its condition—a condition that may depend on its location within a sample of material, and on what kinds of atoms are nearby in the sample. 


NMR was first reported in 1938 by Isidor Isaac Rabi, Jerrold Zacharias, Sidney Millman, and Polykarp Kusch.  The use of NMR to solve problems in chemistry quickly followed.  By 1959, the book High-Resolution Nuclear Magnetic Resonance by John Pople, William Schneider, and Harold Bernstein was published to teach chemists the basic theory of NMR and its then-current applications to chemistry.


More information about Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, including DOE research reports, publications, and data collections, is available in the DOE databases and related resources provided below.

Related Research Information in DOE Databases

For additional information, see the OSTI Catalogue of Collections.

Additional Resources



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